Mason Cox looks dejected after losing the match between Greater Western Sydney and Collingwood at Engie Stadium in Opening Round, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

COLLINGWOOD ruckman Mason Cox has not been sanctioned for making contact with Greater Western Sydney assistant Shane Mumford before the first bounce on Saturday night, although the Pies big man has been given a warning by the AFL.

Cox was issued with a 'please explain' from the AFL on Sunday after he tangled with Mumford and appeared to collide with Giants midfielder Josh Kelly during a ruck drill before the match at Engie Stadium.

Cox apologised for the incident on Monday, with the club saying it came during a transition period between the Pies rucks completing centre-bounce practice in their prescribed window before the Giants' group arrived to begin their prescribed window.

On Tuesday, the AFL's Executive GM of Football, Laura Kane, confirmed Cox had been warned over the incident, but that there was no financial penalty.


"Mason has been provided with a warning and that's been communicated to the Collingwood Football Club," Kane told Footy Feed Extra.

"It's not something we want to see, players interacting physically with opposition staff members or players in the pre-game warm-up. It's not a feature we want to see in the elite game, nor at community level."

In a statement, the League said it "should have been plainly apparent" to Cox that he should have halted his drill once the opposition players and coach were in the vicinity.

"Whilst the umpire did agree to another bounce as requested by Cox, it nevertheless should have been plainly apparent to Cox that GWS coach Mumford and multiple GWS players had congregated in the centre circle by the time the relevant bounce occurred," the statement read.

"Noting Cox's contrition and the club's commitment in supporting him to be more aware in the future, the AFL has determined to issue a reprimand to Cox and take no further action.

"It is important that all players conduct themselves professionally particularly during breaks and in the periods prior to and following matches." 

The Magpies had earlier backed Cox's version of events, saying the incident was unintentional.

"The umpire bounced the ball with Mason's run-up coinciding with GWS moving into the centre circle area. Mason elected to complete the drill, making contact with a Giants official," the Magpies said in a statement.


Cox conceded he should have stopped instead of completing the final drill.

"I apologise for the incident in our pre-game where I made contact with a GWS official," he said.

"In the moment, I was solely focussed on getting one more bounce in – in hindsight, I should have stopped my run-up rather than completing the drill."

Cox struggled on the field on Saturday night, failing to record a single disposal in the first half and finishing Collingwood's 32-point defeat with only five touches and one mark.

Despite neither the Giants nor their ruck coach flagging the issue with the AFL, forward Brent Daniels labelled the incident "really bizarre", saying "it wasn't a good look" and "if you're going to do that, you'd want to back it up on the field".

"Mason likes to say things that get a bit of a headline," Daniels said while speaking on Channel Nine on Sunday morning.

"He likes the limelight, but what he did before the game I thought was really bizarre. A bit of carry on."


Brendon Bolton, the Magpies' GM of Football, said Cox would be more aware in the future.

"We have reviewed the situation and it is clear it was a period of transition in the centre circle – our rucks were completing their centre bounce practice as the GWS midfield arrived to commence their centre-circle work," Bolton said.

"Mason has acknowledged that making contact with opposition officials or players pre-game should be avoided and with our club's support, will be more aware in future."